Archive for the ‘Thai food’ Category

Two years ago, my daughter and three of her friends went to Thailand  to learn the art of Thai cooking and to know a little of the culture of the place. They stayed there for about a week and enrolled in a Thai school. The other two who are certified chefs  enrolled in an advanced course in Thai cuisine. I am sharing some pics that would give you a closer look at an ordinary day in a Thai kitchen.

At the temple of the reclining Buddha.

The temples of Bangkok…

A typical wet market in Thailand. The vegetables displayed here are similar to what we have in our markets too.

Nissa with her cooking instructor shopping for fresh produce.

Look at those colorful array of veggies and spices and herbs in a Thai kitchen.

Don’t you just love these colorful food covers?

Preparing Thai Pandan Chicken

I love how colorful their dishes look…

She brought home some of these but our local cookies taste better.

A typical floating market selling mangoes. Nothing beats our sweet mangoes here in the Philippines though.

I love Thai food. Months ago, I found some authentic Thai ingredients in a supermarket  near our place and they are  now permanent fixtures inside our pantry. That’s how close I can get to experiencing  a little of Bangkok without actually being there.


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If you’re following my blog you would definitely ask, “what, food again?” I am wondering myself why lately, my blogs are focused on food.  Summer definitely brings that hungry feel, because every time I open our fridge, I often wonder what to prepare for the next meal. So I’m done with the tortilla  but I bought ten pieces of juicy apples which I plan to make as apple crumble. It’s not an immediate plan though because I am still in a quandary whether to use almond nuts which definitely cost sky-high  and which I still have to buy or  the local kasuy which you can buy cheaper.  One can eat the apples fresh  anyway if I decide not to labor again in front of the stove.Gosh, I am getting distracted because I am watching the Binibining Pilipinas Beauty Pageant 2012 while doing this blog.

Yesterday, a neighborhood suki passed by and he offered a bundle of these  young taro leaves which he says taste better than the traditional dried leaves which we make into laing. And he was right because it definitely didn’t need longer cooking  and it even tasted sweeter than the dried ones. We had it paired with pork barbecue , it was a yummy dinner. Sometimes, you don’t need to think of elaborate meals to enjoy eating, right?  You just need to be  a little enterprising , and a little budget goes a long way for one to enjoy home-cooked food.

Today, we celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday. It’s rather late to wish you a happy and blessed  one. Oh yes, I’m rather getting good again from hopping on a tricycle to a jeepney and I spent the afternoon at Metro East mall visiting one of my favorite jaunts, Booksale.  I found hardbound copies of Frank McCourt’s  ‘Tis and Angela’s Ashes but I have to forego buying them (could have been an upgrade on my two old paperback copies, one couldn’t  be too greedy)  in favor of another book by Preston and Child (my third one) and one more book from another favorite author, Barbara Taylor Bradford.

         One could not go wrong with a Bradford book since it always is a good read. And Preston and Child’s books are fast-paced, and never boring. I was actually looking for a book by Mary Oliver since a friend told me that she found a copy in one of her forays at Booksale.  And even the bigger National Bookstore don’t carry it.  Another friend told me that she sent a package with Richard Paul Evan’s book in it and she won’t even tell me the title.  It’s a result of our book discussion once at Facebook  which I put in a blog two weeks ago. It would really be a lovely surprise.

I was looking for some authentic Thai food ingredients since the ones Nissa brought home from her trip to Thailand didn’t last long in the kitchen.  I’ve tried the red curry paste and Pad-Kapraow  and they tasted different from the more popular yellow curry powder which is locally available. This time though I was lucky enough to find two bottles of Thai ingredients, a green curry paste (it has lemon grass) and basil garlic and chili stir fry paste.  I am excited for another experiment in the kitchen, be sure it will be  here soon.

The joys of living can be found in simple things – books, friends, cooking!

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I had to cook early for dinner because I haven’t made my blog yet for today.  It’s not really that much of a problem since I still haven’t visited the blogging clues they churn out everyday here at WordPress, to make this daily challenge easy.  Maybe when I’ve gone out of subjects to blog about, I will join the others writing about those subjects at hand.

I opened the refrigerator door and what were left  in the freezer were  one whole deboned chicken breast,  a pack of pork sirloin plus mixed veggies,  a small pack of a  frozen cream dory and yes, lots of eggs for breakfast.  We are due for our  weekly marketing tomorrow so these are more than enough for lunch and dinner. I was scouring our cupboard for some ingredients to go with what I had in mind but the curry powder was not enough for one cooking. I was thinking of making a pork curry for dinner, then I saw this pack of instant Phad-Kapraow paste which my daughter brought home from Thailand late last year. Phad Kapraow is a combination of vegetable oil, chili, seasoning sauce, holy basil (kapraow) leaves and garlic.  It’s a ready-made paste which you can just pour into the dish while cooking.

What to do, what to do? Adobo is a recipe which is uniquely Filipino using vinegar, pepper, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. I thought of making one but why not use Phad-Kapraow paste for a change? I didn’t add vinegar and soy sauce though since the spicy flavor of the paste is good enough for the recipe. I am wondering what to call this since it turned out really yummy, I’ll just give you the basic ingredients if you want to experiment on it just like I did.

1 whole chicken breast – deboned
1 whole piece pork sirloin
4 cloves garlic
small piece of ginger
1 head onion
salt to taste
ground black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups coconut milk

Saute pork and chicken together and let it simmer until tender. Add coconut milk and lower the heat, cook until the oil is visible, then add the Phad-Kapraow paste last. For garnish, I fried 3 pieces of medium-sized potatoes, cut into cubes and a whole medium-sized red bell pepper to add color to the dish. Hubby says, it’s good but I am still wondering what to call it really. We have this standing joke that when we can’t identify a dish (because we invented it), we call it “maskipaps” which means “maski papano” in Tagalog (anything goes in English). Would it be okay if I name it, Arlene’s Thai Chicken-Pork Adobo? What do you think?

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Tried a packet of the ingredients which Nissa brought home from Thailand.  It really taste different when you have  authentic Thai ingredients.  I  used  one whole deboned  chicken breast here and two small potatoes.  Hmmm…yummy!

One of my nieces gave me a box of this Jubileum ensaymada.  First time I’ve tasted  such a silky soft ensaymada.  More, more please!

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I was plain excited when my daughter came home from a five-day trip to Bangkok, Thailand.  She was in the company of some friends and she was so enthusiastic in sharing her experience touring the place and absorbing  the culture.  Five days would not be  enough to see all there is to see  about the place but they went there for the food tour, they enrolled in a Thai cooking school to learn authentic Thai recipes.  More than  anything , I was elated when she brought home several ingredients for Thai cooking.

Two months ago, I bought a cookbook on Thai Cuisine and both of us planned of trying some of the recipes there.  Thai cuisine has a lot of similarities to some Filipino food so it is not so hard to find fresh ingredients in the wet market.  I just told her to source for dry ingredients  which are difficult to buy here. And she came home with several packets of Coriander seeds, dried Kaffir lime leaves, red curry paste, chilli powder, whole white pepper, instant Phad-kapraow paste and hot and sour curry paste, good enough for several experiments in the kitchen.

The richness of Thai cooking is more pronounced through its skillful use of wealthy colors, tastes, textures and smell wonderfully incorporated in every recipe that they use.  Many people think that Thai cooking is a complex process since they use a lot of ingredients and spices.   It is said that  “much of the heat of the  spicy dishes comes from red and green peppers” which we commonly know as chillies. The Thai call it Phrik. Thai food comes in varied forms like soups, fresh vegetable salads, dips, grilled meat, fish or chicken but the most popular   is the use of curry paste.  I’ve been accustomed to using the yellow curry powder so I was surprised that there is a red one too.

Here’s one recipe which is the whole family’s favorite when we eat at a Thai restaurant.  It’s called Chicken Wrapped in Pandanus Leaves.

Chicken Wrapped in Pandanus Leaves (Kai Hor Bai Toey)

You would need:

2 cups of boneless chicken meat

10 pandanus leaves (Pandan  in Tagalog)

Oil for deep frying

Pound Marinade together into a paste:

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp. oyster sauce

1 tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sesame oil

1-2 tsp. pepper corn

3 garlic cloves

2 coriander roots

And the ingredients for the sauce:

1 tsp. white sesame seeds

1/2 cup ( 250 ml.) distilled white vinegar

1 cup (100 grams) sugar

1 tbsp. black soy sauce

1 tsp. salt

Cut chicken meat into bite-sized pieces.  Mix the marinade with the chicken.  Set aside in the refrigerator for three hours. To prepare the sauce, cook the same seeds in a skillet for 2 minutes without oil or until lightly browned. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix white vinegar, sugar, black soy sauce and salt.  Add the sesame seeds and set aside.

Wrap two or three pieces of chicken in each pandanus leaf to form a knot.  Alternatively, wrap each pandanus leaf around the chicken to form a bundle and secure with a toothpick.

Heat oil in a wok or small frying pan.  Deep fry until fragrant.  (about 5 minutes).  Serve with sauce and steamed rice.

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Just arrived home from a  few hours of  shopping alone at Metro East Mall.  Hubby was kind enough to drop me there  and  came back to share lunch with me later.  I was looking for some gifts for a friend who had her birthday last month and  for my mom’s 81st birthday on Tuesday,  April 20.  Yes, that’s how old my mom is and we are so lucky that she is still with us and except for occasional pains of her arthritis, she is doing fine.  Finding that perfect gift for her is a  little difficult. I want to give her a gift that she could really appreciate and  something that would last for a long time.  Anyway, I had the whole morning to do it and still visit my favorite shopping destinations, National Bookstore and Booksale.  It is quite a delight to see that the latter now carries hardbound books, some of them are still in their original plastic cover.  I have to scour every nook and cranny to see if I could find something worth-buying.  I have to restrain myself because I saw several hardbound gardening books which cost the earth at NBS but Booksale sells them from P250.00 to P500.00 max. All my books  on gardening were washed out during typhoon Ondoy so I have to start from scratch all over again.

And if you are wondering what my treasure find was, here it is.  Something I’ve long wanted to own but just like gardening books, it costs sky-high too.  I am quite enamored with Thai cuisine because Thai food is fresh-tasting , healthy and the ingredients are easy to find.  They use a variety of cooking  ingredients  be it on their salad wraps, Thai rolls, Satay, Barbecued chicken, stir-fried vegetables.  One thing I find truly unique in Thai cuisine are their different dips and sauces.  You can find a matching dip or sauce for every menu set on the table.  Thai  food must have that right combination of the four primary tastes:  sweet, sour, hot and salty.  They are also fond of using coconut milk, curry paste and rice noodles.  And don’t you just love their Jasmin rice?  Just like here in our country, rice is an important ingredient in Thai cuisine.

For the price of P250.00,  I am so proud to have found it.  It was still covered in plastic and a bonus pack  of notepad, stickers, recipe cards and splash guards are included inside.  It’s a wonderful, wonderful find. There is a metric chart at the last page,  a very helpful index page, and some Chinese, Japanese and Korean recipes too.  I am sure Nissa would be so thrilled by this  because about three or four days ago, she just bought two books, Le Cordon Bleu’s, The Cooks’ Bible and Kitchen Essentials. She and some close friends are booked on a  Thailand food trip this coming June.

Yes, I was able to buy gifts for my mom and my friend,  and they are now neatly wrapped and labeled.  Sometimes, it’s good to be alone when shopping, because you won’t have to worry about time  or of someone waiting for you.  It surely was a very productive day for me.

And here is something you can try.

Shrimp, Mushroom and Omelet Soup

10 to 12 dried shitake mushrooms (about 1 pound)

3 eggs

1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives or minced green onion tops

2 tsp. vegetable oil

3 cans chicken broth

2 tbsp. oyster sauce

12 ounces medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 cups lightly packed spinach leaves, washed and stemmed

1 tbsp. lime juice

red pepper flakes

1.  Place mushroom in bowl; cover with hot water. Let stand 30 minutes or until caps are soft.  Meanwhile, beat eggs and chives in small bowl with wire whisk until blended.

2.  Heat 10- to 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil and swirl to coat surface.  Pour egg mixture into pan.  Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook, without stirring, 2 minutes or until set on bottom.  Slide spatula under omelet; lift omelet and tilt pan to allow uncooked egg to flow under.  Repeat at several places around the omelet.

3.  Slide omelet into flat plate.  Hold another plate over omelet and turn omelet over.  Slide omelet back into pan to cook other side about 20 seconds.  slide back into  plate. when cool enough to handle, roll up omelet. slice into 1/4 inch wide strips.

4.  Drain mushroom; squeeze out excess water.  Remove and discard stems.  Slice caps into thin strips.  Combine mushrooms, chicken broth and oyster sauce in large saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil  over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cook 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; add shrimp and cook 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and opaque.  Add omelet strips and spinach; remove from heat.  Cover and let stand 2 minutes or until spinach wilts slightly.  Stir in lime juice.  Ladle soup into bowls.  sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Quite easy to do. Makes 6 servings.

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